Citrix CEO predicts end for 'desktop 1.0' PC

PCs to be reborn – in the data centre.

The virtualized "desktop 2.0" is about to kill once and for all the idea that a PC needs to be a physical device, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton has predicted.

At the end of a long speech at the iForum event in Edinburgh that ranged over a number of current products, Templeton made the recently-launched XenDesktop its centerpiece, describing the new desktop virtualization software as "the most anticipated product in Citrix's history."

The feature that made XenDesktop stand out from rival software was that it could virtualize each XP or Vista PC without the overhead that came from turning them into separate images, he said. Under Xen, a particular user's PC was built from scratch each time they logged on using a unique configuration, and then calling in the necessary application and operating system components.

When logged off, that PC disappeared totally, allowing the resources to be recycled to other computing demands. The virtualized "PC" itself was in effect a brand new setup each time it was called upon.

"For the end user it's like getting a brand new desktop every day," he said. "This is not a thin client."

Unlike the era of task workers stuck in front of dumb clients, the "desktop 2.0 PC" could perform exactly as would any other PC, including having high-end graphical capabilities if that was mandated for a user. And it would be ageless, unlike the power-user PCs that littered offices around the current PC world. "Desktop 1.0 is not only slow, it degrades over time."

"Satisfying the user is going to be the most important dimension," said Templeton. "[We have] a vision of the desktop provided as a service," which he characterized as "DaaS" or "desktop as a service."

Templeton admitted that the end of physical PCs would not happen overnight -- companies had a heavy investment in millions of desktops on set deployment timescales -- or that it would suit mobile employees, whom the company described as making up on average perhaps 15 percent of the PC workforce.

But the combined force of desktop virtualization along the Xen model, coupled to perennial worries on PC security, would eventually move companies to embrace the change.

Xen -- which Citrix acquired with its XenSource acquisition in October 2007 -- is seen as the major rival to VMware for desktop deployments thanks mainly to Citrix's established user base. It exited beta and started shipping in May. As well as VMware, Citrix also has the looming presence of Microsoft to contend with, although it officially as an uneasy alliance with Redmond in some areas of virtualization.

Impressive as Xen is in its demo form, Citrix and its rivals still have to convince corporates that they solving problems by turning PCs into virtual entities in the data center. In terms of security, for instance, the problems with patching don't go away, they are simply moved elsewhere in the management hierarchy.

Probably the best short-term argument for the virtualized desktop is one of the simplest -- Citrix claims that the per employee storage requirements for virtualized PC are much smaller than for the same employee using a physical device. Data center storage costs are heavy and this argument could turn some heads.

Interested admins are being invited to download an Express version of XenDesktop, which can support up to 10 PCs, free of charge.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E. Dunn

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?